Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Things I did/ate/that happened...Not an admission of fault, but today Bush talks of Iraq and diminished forces. Gradually. More hospitals. I remind myself of my mother when I eat alone in restaurants, the rise in the voice that is more welcome of servers when a conversation isn’t trying to be fulfilled. “No… thanks though.” The argument that lifted my head off the pillow to yell “absurd.” Later the email titled “I’m a jerk.” Cantaloupe. Hospital food. Overheard: “You’ve got to always be the best person in the room.” Hey, that was the suit that snaked me in the buffet line! Sopapillas. Frozen pizza with gardineira, add at table. Are people a strategy to everyone but me? Why not be interested when a co-worker talks of heavy metal? Read so many times, “a wealth of body to surprise,” no progress with the book. To pick up with next time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Read JS’s Nuclear chap.. a bit monotone on the doom, but I’m interested in how she progresses through a subject, an arc of thinking in full view and the incorporation of sources as lists, litanies- the authority of the named world, as in headlines, diagnoses too- echoes the authority of the poet’s pre and post spools. Friends who grew up in Dayton remember “a whole technology that sees only swords,” the newspaper printing a giant bull’s eye over a picture of their city, finding their own blocks, schools, houses in the photo. It was the blast zone for when/if the nearby military installation was bombed by the Soviets, and known to top the list of likely targets, everyone had a plan, “a necessary illumination.” Parents said they would drive toward the source.
things i did/ate/that happened..(lifted title from another blg, thanks klg) went to asian groceries with s where i avoided products containing “fat powder” and got downright swoony over suburban parking lots after exiting store to the surprise of night and a first snowfall of the season. stood under cans of muzak for a few minutes just for the effect. ate pickled burdock root. fell asleep on battleship potemquin, watched east side story, fell asleep on the discreet charms of the bourgeoisie. ate a paste of salty plums. one foot out the door on sunday for lucha libre but couldn’t go in the end because we had listened to bach all morning and that was too much like going out in the cold with a wet head. antiwar protestors in front of art institute seem to be getting more support every weekend i walk past- in numbers, in honking.. seemingly fewer “commie prick” yellers. bumped into a friend who just returned from building a desert utopian city of the future, oh, it’s this. wondering what i’m missing in the quail egg realm.
where's my company spirit? there's always something interesting that keeps me up/out late and ill-suited to the 6 a.m. rise and 8 a.m. rolling in for a desk sit. last night it was hanging out with s before she leaves for CA and then the seven seas. now i just woke up enough to see that i'm wearing stained jeans and a black shirt covered in cat hair. i think the jeans may be giving off an odor as well, like i wore them to a bar and forgot to put them in the no pile. this after just talking last night about the limits of the artist when it comes to being an employee.


J playing "They Don't Love You Like I Do"-is that the name of the song? Ya-ya-yas... and I'm walking in the door inundated with cats who won't let me up the stairs until I've thoroughly lamented my being away. This kind of talk should be studied for its repetition and variation.. later that night to Bottle: Who's standing in my book? A good girl. A good girl in my book. Such a good Bottle. Yes you are...

Putting the antennae away for a while.. the weather is decisively winter and I just want to eat potatoes and sit in front of a fire.

Monday, November 28, 2005

another one for the net/gathering. to go against, for a moment, the very impulse of its content, which from the other things in the net here going back not too far a ways one can see I agree in an "it's imperative for -in particular- me" kind of way... does someone call this method something? the essay in practice? or a more genreless "when I'm not bowling..."?


a relief that i am not not writing poetry, but genre.

"and i mean forms of writing that take advantage of reading's dynamic and reciprocal nature." -JS
I’m starting to come across this site in my googles for very other things, but things mentioned here only mixedly and once or twice. So I see I have to get used to this originally-intentioned “private” space of things outside the frame of poem-making (that sometimes get in), my sentence practicing, under stranger traffic. Thinking of the insight/delight I derive from others’ blogs as an anonymous (even possible?) visitor, I think, OK, my turn, like karaoke, welcome for whatever worth one finds. Thinking of the privacy-me, insert scream. Makes for an interesting case of intention. This was not begun in the spirit of “dear everyone,” but talking to myself, can it be the same knowing now that there are eaves? I swear- I have to swear since any precision of memory otherwise denies this- once I was taken to a restaurant that had microphones concealed in the centerpieces and a domed ceiling that seemed to throw intimate voices at other tables around the room. People talked on naturally, maybe comforted by a certain anonymity afforded by cacophony.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

is this the attraction?
A transparent approach, one that attempts"uncreativity", openness, one that attempts to reveal as visible and perceptual, rather than to conceal and obscure, the steps of the process, inevitably absorbs the audience, the critic, the pedestrian - any who would make meaning - as an active participant, because transparency cannot function without an observer.
from here

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

went to the lyric last night to see manon lescaut. well sung- the sets however.. eh, i've seen the lyric go balls out so this production lacked the splendor of say aida or their annual garage sale just before halloween. ah opera.. thankfully i am not a woman in manon's day or else i might expect to be jailed, raped, dragged, branded, deported to a barren land and left for dead. for barren land read brutal martian landscape of lousiana. for left for dead read flailing about for an entire act singing how darkness draws near. so many times i thought she had breathed her last when her form would twitch and belt out a few minutes more. in other words, fabulous.
cheer up, jean. sheesh.
my hearye: this is a period of intake-- writing will not be attempted except (accept) by habit (prose) or accident (poetry).


you have to learn
you can not teach
thinking about gardens now that my porch dump spider biosphere is thoroughly dormant, not that, but the seussical thickets of brenda and jenny's yards, and wishing i were smaller and able to dwell even more beneath them and without dirt, bugs, phobias, peril... and this installation i stood under friday night being that, like a canopy of money plant and other things to be under: writing under poems, a line misheard from rosmarie's reading saturday at woodland, "i sit under clouds in which rain gathers white," a bit of a line from keith just after, "we use theory to mean it is possible..." and my writing between layers of things ready for flight.

Monday, November 21, 2005

this weekend--
tropicalia, take two:
the first line of the film about lygia clark, "while walking i lose authorship," she says. we approach the table of her objects, historical, yes, but simply experience's tools. "don't touch that." but lygia says... ok, so wait. someone is fetched for our careful supervision. now act spontaneous with stones and masks. we donned dialogue glasses, our sensations closely guarded. at work my shoes still colored with sand from helio oiticica's imaginary village/favela. this against the deniably beige office carpet. we need more empty structures in which to see red, feel uncertain surfaces under foot.. and fewer museums.
coincidentally reading pale fire and under albany at the same time and thinking about how amorphous memories are. s (hi s!) recalling my abandoning a house to a spider which i forget but it's in a poem now, not mine, so i guess it's the case. as if how one's person gets revealed and withheld from one's own creative work, the nabakov and silliman have me thinking that it's a much more intresting question of how much of one's "self" is to be developed and withheld in reading someone else's work. example:

"if the function of writing is to 'express the world'"

what would it mean if i also wrote a memoir under silliman's albany? maybe my story is no less present here or under my own poems or sawako's or jesse's or chuck's or drew's or stacy's or tracy's or paul's or brenda's or erin's or jen's or tom's or peter's or hoa's or claude's or lissa's or mark's or alan's or roberto's or jordan's or kristin's or rachel's or elizabeth's or rodrigo's or james's or lee ann's or lisa's or jim's or joseph's or lew's or anne-marie's or robert's or john's or george's or eric's or gertrude's or laura's or patrick's or renee's or anne's or lyn's or tsering's or ange's or kimberly's or jacques's or leslie's or corey's or jessica's or juliana's or harryette's or rod's or jennifer's or dana's or ray's or erica's or kaia's or anna's or jackson's or tina's or bernadette's or craig's or trey's or pam's or charles's or lorine's or mei-mei's or sarah's or rosmarie's or margaret's or april's or c.d.'s or laynie's or david's or cole's. i first started to see my story under warhol's silver clouds. in their slow movements new shapes were made of the room, its negative space, not themselves. though they did reflect the people who entered and exited.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Thursday, November 17, 2005

brilliant! the reader now has its articles available online (all?) in pdf format. conversation last night with someone concerned that a high profile art organizer that recently moved operations from wicker park to bridgeport would only wave a red flag to developers there too. ok, artists, there are a dwindling number of neighborhoods remaining in the city if the life span of a neighborhood pre-starbucks and condos is now 1-2 years or less. and berwyn is NOT an option. should the endeavor be to be less visible? covert ops? interesting as this article is, i'm so sick of the eulogies, the "your generation will never have the 60's Greenwich Village, 1920's Paris, 1206 Byzantium we had."
Lovely pastiche of flabby stomachs and galloping horses ala Matt & Maria, their work with its laid-back mental hygiene feel.. work you can scratch your chin to or, like last night, liquid dance in front of to some phat beats. The music was really good all night long- never really sure who's DJing what.. it's a seamless night sonically, and the space puts the frosted DJ booth in the center of the room, throne-like, but it's impossible to see what's going on in there.. as we were leaving there was a live tabla player in there (also sampling himself and electronically manipulating tabla samples at the same time).. sounded great and people were woo'ing in his direction, but it ultimately like interacting with a limosuine. Overdue catch-up with M & M since parenthood occurred. M the evangelist for motherhood, describing how her organs were numbered during her C-section. J and I hardly got to talk to each other, but the steady stream of interesting conversations that found us made the night extraordinary.. -at one point the
bartender said we looked like talk show hosts.- bookartists, filmmakers, gallery-doers, a baker for a scientific research vessel that sailed to the south pacific and the swarthy mates she had to deal with at sea. A nanny who was lacquered in dirty martinis and at some point yelled to J, "this bitch is writing poetry! what do you do?" And except for her, only 2-3 degrees of separation between us and the others. Chicago, the biggest small town there is.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Blogger in the last few days is my ghostly editor, prohibiting revision and truncating original posts, as if my glossary instinct and limited attention span needed encouragement, things that have been in the view the last few days..

Pale Fire (Nabokov) I'm only 100 pages in, but couldn't resist checking in with a few essays on the project, and clearly it's a project, of re/de-certifying the idea of authorship. I'm amazed at how eagerly the reflections of its mirrors have been chased by countless critics over the years when it basically seems to be disabling the institution of Character so revered in mainstream fiction circles then and now. Isn't this ultimately the same conceptual and solipsistic game-playing that makes people so hot under the collar about language poetry? Or is it forgiven for its virtuosic prose, a penetrable surface? Also that so many of the critics allow that Pale Fire the poem is a good poem when it seems perfectly clear to me that it's a stumbling, warmed-over Prufrock at best, a comically bad specimen of verse well situated in underscoring the disjuncts of its "reality" and that of its commentator who regards it as a masterwork. To be continued..

Me, You and Everyone We Know (film), great kid acting, but is childhood really this bleak now? All of the kids seem to be in this limbo, recognizing that they are somehow debilitated adults waiting for time to pass as they build up a certain immunity to a dismissive and exploitive world. The filmmaker shows us a number of responses to a child's ability to see and resist a world that beckons one to withdraw into self-indulgence and preservation at the expense of compassion and wonder. The girl that seeks some sense of security by squirrelling away household appliances in her hope chest for her future family. The brothers who make artworks out of punctuation in between illicit chatroom propositions. The artist who appropriates other people's photographs as the nexus of her film projects that tell all together different stories.

Listened to Creeley talk he gave at U of C last year.. interesting to hear him speak explicitly and implicitly (exemplify) of the lack of regard for poetry-as-career. Well, I guess it just wasn't the model in his formative day as it is here.. but his steadfastness about one just following one's interests- the term "public intellectual" (why discern?) was bandied about by Q & A'ers, but I didn't sense Creeley using that word comfortably- and being in conversation with other poets, whether via letters over a geographical distance or over drinks in a saturated place of cultural exchange. And with this, "each day, another" he referred to, an epigraph for For Love.

Listened to a discussion of Derrida and, among other things, was pleased to discover that my training in explication is not antithetical to deconstructivism, in fact, phew, I'm not the closeted New Critic I've often feared.

Finished reading Ben Marcus' article in Harper's.. would love to quote at length the litany of "difficulty is..." as it comes in for a landing. Maybe later. Am interested in reading it next to John Barth's essay "The Literature of Exhaustion."
jeremy does an interesting write-up of last Friday's event


wednesdays seemed innocuous enough until i planned my guitar lessons then- and only then did they also become the night of seldom-seen friends, so guitar-tough fingers are a-smoothening out. tonight after class, mama maria vj's at sonotheque.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

"it's not blood, it's red," J-L Goddard... recalled as part of a discussion of philosophy and film, how G de-realizes images so we can watch ourselves watching movies.


"souls/are/fun!" church marquee


lygia clark on her "group experiments" of the late 60's-early 70's vis-a-vis the film "The World of Lygia Clark" by Eduardo Clark...

"It's an exercise in living"
"[ attain] the singular state of art without art"
"The artist is not the myth. The people participating in the work are creating their own myths."

Monday, November 14, 2005

weekend (too) shorthand

friday: write about:
mca's tropicalia exhibit, lygia clark
discrete event, post pix
more new poetry folks in town- new discrete regulars?
talks about reassessment of importance of writing and writing communities in light of current events, and yet, what political work can juxtaposition do?
wondering: how much of one's creative practice during any one week/month/year is listening?
etg off to california after a good catch-up few days.
covered in ecru for the sake of a gallery wall in new 3030 space, a curious spot above a chinese restaurant. owners left mannequin in a red silk thong- a wish for good fortune?
marionette legs from (ecru) painting over mall miles in holiday research. picked up john dewey's art as experience because i can't get lygia clark's work out of my head. otherwise sad with all the glitter and calls to desire. tired, home, watched melinda and melinda and will ferrell makes an excellent woody allen sub. hilarious scene at the end when he justifies having sex with a republican.

Friday, November 11, 2005

today i bought a cappuccino just to correct a dream. i was overly thrilled with the whole transaction.
in the dream i walked up to a coffeestand and said, one cappuccino, please.
the barista said, i'm sorry, no. we don't have that.
but, i pointed above her head, it's right there on your menu.
yes, but you have to order a hot dog.
but i don't want a hot dog.
ok, give me a cappuccino and a hot dog.
of course the timing was all wrong. that offer was only valid before i had to be told about it.
listen, i can see the machine right there. i'll tell you how to make it. a shot of espresso and then foam the milk.
no response.
filled with frustration i walked away from the stand and saw that the surrounding mall area was entirely toy stores. language had failed. i had lost the language game or never really knew its rules.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

on sincerity, cont'd...

via anne b., an interesting churn over sincerity... who'da thunk the darkness would have become such a touchstone?


i could set my watch by the bad dreams i have within days of a discrete event- that everyone's assembled and i realize i haven't written any introductions, in fact have nothing to say.

good news, the erp guys are back in business with a new space opening in january in logan square. so glad i can bag my traveling salesman bit, my spiel to people with other spaces, some who were kind of into it but only willing to accommodate a poetry slot if it didn't interfere with anything important.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

more for the sonosphere...

one of the most inexcusable things chicago public radio's ever done is cancel gretchen helfrich's odyssey program. charitably, the station has kept it in their budget to continue hosting the show's 7 year archive. so now in my repetitive hours i can catch up on the history of Sino-Japanese Relations and Imagining the Hillbilly. The Film Forum Fridays were always a must-hear and it's fitting that the show goes out on this note: films to see before you die... added a few to the netflix queue.

one interesting bit, talking about films about contract killers, that they derive from benjamin's idea that we are drawn to narrative out of our desire to know the end of something, a way of dealing with our own inability to know our own ending, and these killers being in a way the fulfillment of that since they possess total control of someone's end, have calculated every possible variable.

and.. something said about missed endings i've often thought, that i love the first 10 minutes of every movie i've ever seen because that's when everything is possible.

and. listened to another program, this one about american mania and tracing the history of explaining mental illness in cultural terms to the 19th century when doctors reduced the modern american epidemic of nervous disorders, or neurosthenia, to 5 causes: steam power, the telegraph, the periodical press, the sciences, and the mental activity of women.
been busy with repetition at work the last few days and exhausting the ipod- if i hear windowlicker one more time i'll- so prowling internet radio and unenthused with most music offerings turned up- i think more a symptom of the difficulty of categorization- remember the station out of ps1, once ago finding in their archive a program of smoking 50's samba. today first checking what was coming in "live" and it was a recording of the fence reading a few weeks ago with the fabulous laura s. and forest g. i had been curious about the work of the other two readers but now am no longer curious. f read an essay on jaime saenz and one of his poems after sally man's photographs. his voice and laura's in headphones felt like we should all be around a table carving a turkey.


sometimes i say one line and sometimes i'm the other:
i'm so sick of art. i don't want to do it anymore.
just forget the capital a and do some stuff.

Monday, November 07, 2005

the humanites festival was this week/end and true, my syndrome with it every year is that in spite of the dizzying abundance of programming, few programs fill me with urgency to attend. like the big stars this year were salman rushdie and stuart dybek. eh. but i did go to a lecture yesterday by the author/architect witold rybzinski about palladio. ryb started out with some "acknowledging that i'm in chicago, a not so insignificant place as architecture goes" comments. something about how he has never been the biggest fan of 1960's and 70's architecture, but to look at what's come since makes all of our mies buildings seem "chummy." from his books, i like his long view back into history, and hearing him hold back the lecture he probably gives to his students at upenn and give the gloss with slides for the general audience made me want to be his student briefly, but i think my 20th century streak might bring us to loggerheads. i would like to hear his take on habitat 67, in his hometown of montreal, a chum i'd like to meet- i understand they give tours- someday in person.
written saturday, halfway through anne carson's the beauty of the husband:
one thing that has made me hesitant about approaching anne carson's work after reading plainwater, was a sense i had of its own predestination. preferring a little more tension in the word and line, and feeling like it could go anywhere, i found carson's work made me feel like i am being shown my assigned seat for a beautiful ceremony about to take place in front of me. or maybe i was a few rows back.

that said, i love watching her mind range over any number of themes and how she pulls seemingly disparate strands of quotation, antiquity and human motives of desire into relation in a deceptively plain prose style. the questions she leaves open are each a pandora's box within a teasing shadow of a plot (here in the beauty of the husb). the poet voice of intimacy that makes the reader check her impulse for truth... it's a brillant dance, like this run:

An ideal wine grape
is one that is easily crushed.
Such things I learned from the grandfather
when we sat in the kitchen late at night cracking chestnuts.
Also that I should under no circumstances marry his grandson
whom he called tragikos a country word meaning either tragic or goat.
and today:
i think she's using this subject matter (lying, unfaithful spouse) as a way of exploring how language we recognize- "I can't live without you"- is not as straight-forward in meaning as it would seem, because the husband says things like this but his behavior shows them not to be true. because the author speaks in similarly "clear" statements, cultivates an engaging plot, characters, etc. with such an intimate voice, the reader is tempted to think it autobiographical. also a temptation due to its ambiguous categorization- her own title suggests both fiction and essay, while the publisher's mark for bookstore shelvers denotes it as poetry. since i'm certain we can't expect carson to have suddenly become sharon olds, and there are too many layers beckoning from this text to comfortably reduce it as such, the person-ness of this text seems to exist as another reiteration of desire, the reader's, for truth, that seems possible for fulfillment and then not, much like the speaker's back and forth in loving someone who only occasionally and conditionally seems to accommodate this desire.

i know there are a lot of books i haven't read that formalize one's thinking about language and desire, our desire, as users of language, for meaning, purpose, clarity, stability, understanding, mastery. and among the many relationships to be found between language and the body, the word made flesh in genesis for starters. these are a few of the things i scratched in the margin as i thought about the disappointment of those desires with the signified/signifier rift. (once upon a time i frustrated many a student with texts like these, i remember a few begging the rest in the conversation to just shut up about postmodernism and let things be true.)

wasn't it wittgenstein who posited the idea of language as a game? it is posited in this book that the husband and wife regard their relationship as a game, and, it is also noted that the cultural function of games has long been to test the will of the gods. elsewhere in the text, (it says that only gods really understand language, humans understand it in a very compromised way "(find exact quote)"...and later in justifying his actions, the husband says, "i never lied to her. when need arose i may have used words that lied."

Sunday, November 06, 2005

finally doing it.. cleaning my office. going through every bit of scrap of paper on which i've jotted some few words.. several months of these... some of them quotes:

"comfort is the greatest enemy of art"- boulez
(on this same piece of paper: eggs cheese sushi bubbly water)

"lord, increase my bewilderment" -muslim prayer

Saturday, November 05, 2005

finished reading this connection of everyone with lungs and i find myself zealously recommending this book to everyone. i remember the same periods spahr's writing through in this book, just after 9.11 and the run-up to the war and "shock and awe" when a lot of poets i know, myself included, stopped writing and had to reassess poetry's place in the light of current events. while most of us regained some measure of return to poetry, this reassessment, at least for me, continues. mostly it continues because i spend more hours of the day reading news than poetry, and have often wondered what a poem that tried to acknowledge this experience would look like. and as i opened my computer to write this, the bbc news page intervened with the violence in paris suburbs going into a tenth night, the economic summit in argentina ending after riots and no new pacts, a somali cruise ship being fired upon by pirates, a bid to seal off the us-mexico border, george clooney denying a bar scuffle and a search for a death row escapee.

some marginalia before i put this book into the wild: the text as whole is an interest in formation, a lot like jesse's work (which incidentally i once compared to the movement of a flock of birds, but as we'd see them here, a bunch of pigeons churning above a city square, a shared direction, but ever shifting parts). and then, since spahr works within the postmod/postlang/whateveryouwanttocallit vein that works out of deconstructivist conceits, and she's dealing with a destructive subject, it's fascinating that the most dominant formal quality of the book-length work is genesis. this seems like literature's fulfillment of the opportunity lost by the us's response to 9.11, which instead of igniting more vengeance, could have ushered in a new era by countering with a different kind of response, one that acknowledges the brutality we're all capable of without having to actually demonstrate it, one that uses such desperation as a fulcrum for dialogue among nations, debt-forgiveness, and a global economic policy that is more progressive than keeping most of the world impoverished. even now it's hard to write about without sounding pollyanna.

so this book has been duly noted, and i gave my library workshop today to a minute group, but it allowed for more one-on-one conversation. half way through a woman walked in and i invited her to join in the writing prompt and she said no i'll just sit here and listen. so we wrote and talked while she looked on and in the last 20 minutes she began to speak, asking what was positive and what was negative because she didn't know anymore since jewel (chicagoland's grocery chain) had changed so much over the years and now they just weren't themselves anymore, how is she ever supposed to go to hawaii with them again? attempting to parse some sense from this i asked her if she worked at jewel. no, she said, i donate my own time to choose things for their shelves. then she asked if we thought making sense was very important. i responded with a teacherly sense is relative, and in poetry it can be interesting to challenge what we think of as sense. and she said no, i'm talking about forcing people to do what you want. me: yes, then you would want to communicate to them clearly.

Friday, November 04, 2005

the hours are too reasonable


also this week:

lovely, heard backburner as a verb

finished l=a=etc. no.s 1 & 2

read eleni s's poetics of the exclamation point (a duration pdf chap).. i like the chatty bits and how they are swooped into and away from by exclamations on limited edition yeatsian wings.

read von kleist's essay on the marionette theater.. beautiful opening anecdote about the body's center of gravity and the agency of limbs, but the cumulative bang is this: "grace appears most purely in that human form which either has no consciousness or an infinite consciousness that is in the puppet or in the god."

jeremy made this gorgeous poem from the trib. and his blog over here, a great compass, introcuced me to the work of p washburn. nevelson meets globalism? how she talks about process- i'm fizzling, time for lunch- me likey.
thinking lately about the difficulty of merging the political and art, especially poetry that speaks specifically to the du jour injustices that, in the last few years, seem to crest with such rapidity that to digest their gravity/ramifications fully seems an almost impossible task... but especially attempting this, and attempting some constructive artistic expression from this against every cliche of the activist, the over-earnestness, the self-righteousness, the position of relative comfort/leisure/education necessary to this kind of thinking and activity... some things that have come into the frame, my frame, in a seemingly haphazard way are gaining resonance. that hankering i expressed a few days back, out of a certain restlessness with art for art's sake cleverness in the light of current political climate, a hankering for something that acknowledges, even in the abstract, something being at stake... well spahr's book, which i'd been meaning to order from spd for some time now, jumped out at me yesertday at local chain bookstore that never has interesting poetry in my quick attempt to get something to read on th train, is a manifold answer to that call. the way the speaker acknowledges and incorporates her own presence into all that is beautiful, perplexing, helpless, guilty, exploitive, etc. makes the koianistansi (sp?) view all the more persuasive for the complexity and humanity of this lens.

then there are the debates the characters had in the roth book, q's play, this dowd article that circle the question of difference between the people who speak for revolutionary causes and the people they are fighting for. dowd's article has me asking who does feminism speak for today? and all leave me with the quiestion of whether it isn't problematic- patronizing even- that a bunch of well-off, well-educated young people organize struggles against a military-industrial complex they've been the beneficiaries of for some (romanticized?) notion of the working class? q's characters talk the revolutionary talk but end up going to amusement parks and opium dens instead. this piece had a very different character compared to its staging at 3030 last spring- last night in a setting it was written for, a well-appointed apartment on the upper west side --here, chicago's equivalent of. sitting on a henry miller chaise eating brie while listening to q's days o rage does lend a certain feeling of indictment to all, at least me, who were fortunate enough to be sitting there in headphones taking in this piece.

and then the underwhelming turnout and attention paid to wednesday's protests. the chicago tribune reported only 1100 people showed up in federal plaze to say no to this president and his policies of aggression. (an echo of days o rage-- what to do when you plan a revolution and no one shows up?) more disheartening is a footman for the republican party that in response to the tribune's inquiry about whether his party views this movement as a threat first laughs and then says that this group of "extremists" represent such a minority of the left that even the demoratic party won't give them the time of day.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

q's in town! another performance of days o rage is being put on tonight. hopefully this time without a preshow er visit.

this is the month of back east. time 1 of 37 asked when will we go back.


learned a new tune in guitar class last night- a rootin tootin cajun number of two chords. teacher says anyone using more than 2 chords is just showing off.


i've been really puzzling over this dowd article all week. i don't know which feminists she's talking about when she says feminists, likewise her characterization of men. none that i know. men that only want to marry their secretaries and young women modeling themselves on feminine principles of the 1950's? on tv and in the movies perhaps, but i'm no more buying frilly aprons for my friends than i am jumping away from exploding buildings. isn't a working mother trying to earn enough to keep her child from having to live in violent neighborhoods, attend subpar schools and be subjected to a lackluster health care system the real "modern girl?"

if it weren't for dowd and the onion i wouldn't be able to deal with the w presidency most days, but for her expansive cultural critique the reaction here seems pretty on the mark.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

my heart is with the demonstrators today--more than ever, the world can't wait, and while some analysts on npr are kicking up their heels at what they see as a wounded administration, i think they're still as powerful as ever, in fact the more scandals like fitzmas we have, the more cover it is for the other devious shit that keeps happening. and like the admin has already demonstrated before, once the cover has expended its use it'll gnaw off the infected limb and proceed on with the rhetorical appearance of "we had a problem, we took care of it, unlike the left that would rather gridlock gov't with their spite and divisiveness." there is a certain brilliance in this regime that i wish the left could match instead of just looking like a bunch of kids throwing spitballs in the back of the bus. and now this meiers-scalito switcheroo has a calculated rove stank all over it and at this point it seems like a forgone conclusion (decided a year ago) unraveling just how many more freedoms we have left to lose.
i'll be the first to admit that self-aware film/writing/art does not an interesting work make. i'm presently doing my victory lap through american pastoral, the roth book that was giving me fits and my book group at work's pick. we actually discussed it last week despite the fact that most of us had stalled 100 pages from the end. we still managed to have a very substantive conversation about it (and i adore this group, its dynamic, and that we're reading pale fire next), and the few people who had made it all the way through revealed some plot turns that made it interesting to return to and finish, in fact 90% of the book's interest is in the last 100 pages. i bring it up here because this book is another example of a fiction within a fiction, as the opening chapters numbingly reveal that the narrator is- drumroll- a writer, who has recently rekindled his curiosity about a guy he went to high school with: star athlete, handsome devil, a beauty-queen marrying upstanding citizen. after that the narrator as a character goes away and roth plies his trade (i believe franzen calls it "contract writing" which sounds accurate to me in that it connotes a focus on commodity over artfulness here, though i think franzen intends it in a different sense) at making us forget we ever read that, assuming instead that this 3rd person narrator is now a benign device to tell the lead character's life story, which contrary to outward appearances is a trainwreck (a stunner, i know). just as there are a lot of other aspects of the ethos of absorptive fiction that i'll readily admit are sturdily in my bag of prejudices, this milquetoast game of hide the salami (winks to howard dean) makes it to the top of the list of reasons i find this book irksome.

rewatched kill bills (1 & 2) last night. is this the most compelling film about motherhood or what? i've always enjoyed how stilted and stylized tarantino's dialogue is, the precision of the mannequin-like reality of his aesthetic. reminds me of a film studies class i took freshman year in college and writing my final paper on pulp fiction though my instructor had expressly asked me not to because she disliked violence and didn't want to be forced to go see the movie. this condition created one of those breakthrough early college papers where you see your thinking synthesize in ways for the first time. apart from simple scene by scene explication, i made it my mission to prove that the film itself is such an artifice, and that this is hardwired into every element: mise en scene, plot, dialogue, acting performances, etc. that the violence is simply another stylized element that resists a viewer's belief, thereby sidestepping the usual ethical grounds that would make it repellent. at this time i had no formal knowledge whatsoever of postmodernism, self-reflexivity, the renegotiation of the maker and receiver relationships, ideas of the genuine, etc. i only intuited this from my own experiences with art to that point, the most notable of which was seeing the warhol retrospective at moma in '89- an experience more useful than all of high school as far as i'm concerned.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

dolch poem 1 (+1)

all sleep would let me tell
is that kind of wish to please the cold
where before every sleep might carry
us together rounding off
what light would leave open
our better hold
its ride into just blue, red

ok i see the need to add, nouns or two, plus plus plus, so i'm already making amendments to the rule. otherwise it's easily that vague, anchorlessness, and you need anchors, arr said to me once cole swensen.